My First Memories

A Memory of Billacombe

I was born in Garden Village, Billacombe in 1944 and lived there until I was 8 years old. My memories are very strong of walking up Pleasure Hill to Sunday School at Pomphlet, walking to and from Goosewell Infant School and buying cream buns from Goodbodys Bakery on the way home.
We lived with my grandparents who kept chickens, had wonderful apple trees, raspberry bushes and gooseberries in their garden. Summers were very colourful.
We did not own a car and my mother used to walk us to all the woods in the district such as Staddiscomb, Radford, Saltram and Colesdown where picking primroses and bluebells were a strong feature of my memory.
I have always been haunted by Dickens 'A Christmas Carol' after seeing Plymstock School's version in a Christmas concert.
These were the days when steam trains ran on many branch lines and my most vivid memory was of catching the train to Steer Point and collecting shells for the chickens.
We owned a caravan at Bovisand where we spent a lot of our summer holidays. To get there we would catch the bus to Down Thomas and walk down to the 'caravan field'. Occasionally we took the motor boat from The Barbican or a bus to Jenny Cliff to get to our 'home away from home'. Our first job was to collect mushrooms from the fields which were cooked for breakfast on our first morning.
Garden Village was not sealed then, but rather a muddy and rocky lane. I was there watching with several other kids when the first power transformer was delivered to Forrester's field just up the road. Ice-creams were bought for us by the low loader driver after we helped to push the transformer onto its plinth. So much for OH&S!
I have lived in Sydney, Australia for 40 years but have strolled around Billacombe many times since. Billacombe has changed like everywhere I guess, but I am grateful, mainly to my parents who made our childhood in Billacombe one to fondly remember.
Jeff Smith

A memory shared by Jeffrey Smith , on Feb 8th, 2010.

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